Anyone listening to Radio 4 - Misogynist Book Club?(6 Posts)
I was looking forward to it, and listened today. I found it fascinating, and ultimately depressing, about how pervasive misogyny is.
They were discussing Hamlet, which I've studied in detail (admitedly 20 years ago now), and I had missed the misogyny there entirely.
The main bits being how disgusted Hamlet is with his mother for having a sex life, and how she has to listen to his humiliating her, but she's not allowed to speak back.
The bit that stuck with me though is the quote "frailty thy name is woman", how being frail is despised, as being the opposite to strong and healthy. Going off on a tangent here, but I'd started to be disturbed by the number of DD's clothes with butterflies on them. The other day she was wearing butterfly leggings, butterfly t-shirt and a butterfly hat. Is a butterfly not the frailest creature on earth?
I was left feeling depressed at how impossible it seems to fight the system.
If you want to be really depressed listen to today's episode. Actually it made me angry, more than depressed, at how even modern women buy into the system of male supremacy. I wanted to smash the radio and I only caught the last 6 or 7 minutes - not a good idea as I was driving at the time.
YY grimbletart It was easier to be dispassionate about other episodes as they had discussed literature, myths and historical attitudes, but it was very difficult listening to a strong woman being upset that her younger self had been a door mat in a teenage relationship.
Her internalised victim blaming and making allowances for the man's atrocious behaviour was very upsetting to listen to, I was reminded how difficult it is to be a teenager, with all the sexual indoctrination that is attached to advertising, never mind porn, that means that a certain type of man can steam roller attitudes and behaviours, just to get what they want.
Darcey my teacher had definitely touched on the misogyny, but when we'd studied it for 'A' Level (25+ years ago) she'd also been keen to get us to talk about generational attitudes to sex; as part of the discussion about Hamlet's age: was he a silly teenager bothered about his mother stepping outside of her parental role by expressing her sexual nature, or was it an ageist comment about her being past it? Especially as he is terrified of his own feelings and can only admit them once Ophelia is dead. She was a great teacher.
To be fair to Hamlet, I don't think it was just her having a shag that he was disgusted with, it was her very publicly getting it together with her husband's brother when by the standards of the time she should have been in mourning, as he still was himself. He may not have known initially, but soon found out, that it was with her husband's murderer. There have been strong suspicions that the indecent haste with which she took up with Claudius may indicate they were having a bit of a "thing" while the King was still alive. I don't suppose he would have had a problem if she had taken a different lover after what was seen as a decent interval.
I don't really blame him for slut shaming Gertrude (though while he's at it Claudius should be slut shamed too) but I think he rants on in a bit too much detail which is just a bit weird ("rank sweat of an enseamed bed..." etc - gross!) Methinks he doth think about it a little too much....kind of in the way that I secretly suspect that half the morally outraged men stoning women to death for adultery probably get a hard on from it.
And he is a right shit to Ophelia. OK he believes her to be in cahoots with Claudius and Polonius, but I think it's just a massive example of confirmation bias - he should know that she is not that sort of person but his nasty shitty misogynistic attitude leads him to jump to conclusions that All Women Are Like That. He doesn't even tell her graciously to get lost, he really rips into her and spews all the nasty bile about women at her, and also pretends to acknowledge his own faults, but doesn't let it stop him having a good old go... in fact I think he's just using the "I am very proud, revengeful" bollocks as a way of excusing his crappy behaviour (I just can't help myself blah blah). Some of the stuff is probably targeted at the eavesdropping Polonius but there's just no call for all the nasty woman hating bits. When he tells her "We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us" I'd like to have been on hand to say to her, "Yeah he actually is a total cock, you're well out of that one, so don't hang around and listen to the shit he's going to come up with next, away and pick some flowers to decorate your own room, to hell with the rest of the patriarchal fucks, btw sorry your daddy is such a user".
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